Like the old joke goes - stop me if you’ve heard this one before: in the not too distant future, science will perfect the artificial biological replacement. Organs, limbs…even memories can be uploaded, refashioned, and in many cases, reinterpreted for the client’s needs. Of course, none of this comes cheap. Massive corporate conglomerates itching to make a buck off the bad luck of its suffering consumers will set up full service clinics, including mandatory installment plan financing - a mortgage for your medical needs, so to speak - in order to prolong your miserable life. If you pay in full, the new part is yours. Failure to make your monthly payment, however, brings the Repo Men to your door. Armed with surgical tools and some amount of meatball skill, they take back what is no longer rightfully yours, ending your existence while maintaining the social order - that is, until the repossessor inadvertently becomes the repossessed.
If the proposed storyline rings a bell, that’s because we have had at least two competing versions of this future shock idea in the last three years. The first - and for many, the best - remains Darren Lynn Bousman’s labor of love Repo: The Genetic Opera. Starting life as a stage play, then a short film, this surreal song and dance experience - yes, it is indeed a musical - uses the medical menace described above to discuss familial dysfunction, social disenfranchisement, surgical obsessions, and slasher horror film conventions. Relegated to a contractually mandated ‘minor’ theatrical release, the man who made Saw a more than viable franchise found his baby abandoned, only to be picked up by an originality-starved viewing public. Now a certified cult hit, home video has turned the title into one of the more recognizably successful cinematic experiments.